The founders of D-Verse Publishing and creators of the game Nexus, Jason (Jay) Goike and Scott Rumptz are my heroes for starting and developing their own game. And like any good hero story, it is best to begin at the beginning. So, I asked Jay and Scott about their history together as far as games are concerned to get a better idea about how their journey to create a game began.
Jay and Scott both grew up in Detroit and cut their teeth early on Palladium games such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles And Other Strangeness, Robotech, and eventually Rifts. Being youngsters, they often modified the rules to make the game more fluid and to not get bogged down in the mechanics that didn’t matter to them. Both of them really enjoyed the character creation part of the games. “I didn’t really have the money for miniatures and paints, they always seemed out of reach for me [which is why] I loved spending time illustrating and developing a character’s backstory,” Scott Rumptz tells me. –But the two young boys didn’t stop there with tinkering with games. Scott follows up by saying, “Jason and I were never satisfied just playing someone else’s games or reading other people’s comics. While I loved the worlds that we were exposed to, they mostly just filled me with a desire to create my own. Not necessarily to make something better, just my own. Jason and I always did that. We made our own comics. We made our own games.” Jay mirrors these comments about their creativity starting at a young age.
Jay Goike tells me, “eventually we would create our own RPG’s with different mechanics. Our home-brew games just became part of the rotation with the official games we continued playing. We didn’t have a larger group of friends that were into what we were into, so most of the time it was just the two of us playing. Naturally, one of the home-brew games we created was a 2 player arena combat game. Out of all our home-brew games we created, this is the one that we kept playing.” –After years of the mixture of home-brewed 1v1 games and tweaked commercial games, the boys came across Games Workshop and played Blood Bowl. Jay goes on to tell me, “back then I painted Ral Partha mini’s with Testors paint in my parents basement with no ventilation LOL. I like to say I was part of the ‘lead’ generation.” —That might explain some things Jay.
As many friendships do, Jay and Scott’s lives took different forks in the road with Scott ending up in Memphis, TN and Jay going to Film School. As fate would have it, years and years later, Jay would eventually come to work at the same company Scott was working at in Memphis –which is where I met both of them. Now 30 years older, both married with children, they were reunited (*sings* and it feels so good). After working together, droning on like good little worker bees for years, they go out to lunch and Jay pops the question– “We are finally in a financial position to really make something great. Let’s do it.” and with the smile on Scott’s face, he continued telling me, “We started talking about that game we created as children. We got excited and carried away with the idea to bring this to life. We fell in love with the idea of bringing something from our childhood into our present lives and sharing it with others.”–And they picked up right where they left off as kids. Excited, driven, and finally able to see one of their own creations come to life.
I pressed Scott a little more to gain some additional insight into this desire to create. Scott answered, “for me personally, it was to keep from losing my mind. After years of working, raising children and being constantly bombarded by inspiring art and storytelling in every possible medium, I needed to create something myself before I exploded. Making a game seemed to bridge all my creative outlets with my systematic and analytical thought processes. This was a chance to express myself. It became more like an art project than a game.”–I can understand the need for creativity and creation, but it begs the question…why not just create something for yourself? Why go through all the trouble of making a game available to the public? To which Scott answered, “We have had a lot of fun designing and playing it [and decided to have some other people try it]. When we first started having strangers play test Nexus, we thought there was no way anyone was going to ‘get it’ and enjoy it as much as we do. We were wrong.“–And the desire to share the game grew stronger for our two heroes.
Next up in the Nexus Designer Blog, I ask Jay and Scott about the mechanics of Nexus and how they came up with their ideas of making this game work.
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To learn more about the game of Nexus, go here: https://d-verse.com/nexus/